Risk of COVID-19 in pediatric population and the effects of COVID-19 vaccination: A retrospective cohort study

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Auris Nasus Larynx


Objective: Prior studies have demonstrated the adverse effects of upper respiratory infections on the pediatric population, such as increased risk for acute otitis media (AOM). Other studies have noted decreased otitis media complaints during the COVID-19 pandemic. This project aims to identify whether individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 at the Emergency Department (ED) visit had an increased risk of developing severe complications. Additionally, we will study whether vaccination helped decrease following COVID-19 complications. Methods: Utilizing the TriNetX database, we obtained de-identified electronic medical records for children under five and 6–10 years old from 2020–2023 in the United States. The study population was propensity-matched for gender, index age, and comorbidities. Complications within eight weeks of the ED visit were compared between COVID-19 vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Risk ratio was used to measure associations between our groups. A p-value less than or equal to 0.05 was considered significant. Results: After propensity matching, a total of 211,138 children were identified. Within eight weeks after the ED visit, unvaccinated children < 5 years old who tested negative for COVID-19 had a 30 % relative risk reduction for AOM, 52 % for sinusitis, 76 % for multisystem inflammatory system (MIS), 17 % for acute respiratory failure, and 37 % for septic shock when compared to those with a positive COVID-19 result (p ≤ 0.05). Unvaccinated 6–10 years old children who tested negative for COVID-19 had an 18 % risk reduction for AOM, 44 % reduction for sinusitis, 63 % reduction for MIS, and 42 % for acute respiratory failure (p ≤ 0.05) compared to those that tested positive for COVID-19. Vaccinated children with positive COVID-19 results have no significant risk of AOM or acute respiratory failure. Additionally, children 6–10 years old with positive COVID-19 results did not have a substantial risk of sinusitis. Conclusion: COVID-19′s effects require continued investigation in children. This study showed that there are some increased risks of severe complications following this viral infection.

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